Magazine article The New Yorker

HEY, LA-A-A-DIES!; on the Docket

Magazine article The New Yorker

HEY, LA-A-A-DIES!; on the Docket

Article excerpt

"Girls, y'all got one, a night that's special everywhere, from New York to Hollywood," Kool & the Gang sang, in 1979, and every year thereafter. Ladies' nights, however, are lately in peril (and with them, presumably, sales of coconut rum and Coty Wild Musk). In June, Roy Den Hollander, a Manhattan attorney, filed a federal lawsuit alleging that ladies' nights constitute a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Citing invidious discrimination, he named as defendants the night clubs A.E.R., Lotus, Sol, China Club, and the Copacabanawhich charged lower admission fees for women at, respectively, their Remix Thursdays, Velvet List Wednesdays, Models and Bottles Fridays, Metropolis Fridays, and College Party Thursdays.

The other nightnite?Den Hollander was maneuvering his way past a maroon rope that marked the entrance to LQ, a dance club in midtown. It was a Salsa Wednesday: five bucks for ladies, ten for gents. Den Hollander shelled out and went inside, where he cruised the pink-lit periphery of a dance floor, sparsely populated with wrinkled couples practicing twirls. "Last time I was here for an after-work, you had younger people," he said. "Problem is, the music's so loud. When I hit on a girl, I need to be able to talk to her." Forgoing a complimentary buffet, he made his way to the bar, where he ordered an Absolut vodka gimlet. "I tend to be attracted to black and Latin chicks, and Asian chicks," he said, citing the influence of the twelfth-century Provenal troubadour Guiraut de Bornelh. "He said, 'For a man, attraction goes through the eyes.' " Den Hollander was unfazed by the notion that, as a hound dog, his fight to defeminize clubs was perhaps counter to his self-interest.

Den Hollander likes to keep his age a secret. He was wearing a greenish double-breasted suit and, judging from his gray buzz cut, rubbery grin, and Hypnotiq-blue eyes (courtesy of contacts), seemed to be about forty-five. His frequent references to the Vietnam era, however, put him slightly earlier. "I look around," he said, recalling his college years, "and there are all these girls walking around in see-through skirts and having sex whenever they want to, and there I am, dodging the draft."

He reached into his pocket and produced a typed forty-one-point list headed "Discrimination against men in America." (Sample gripes: child-custody laws, circumcision, "5% of females have borderline personality disorder.") "What I'm trying to do now in my later years is fight everybody who violates my rights," he continued, bringing to mind a combination of Leon Phelps, Che Guevara, and Travis Bickle. …

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